A website is one of the most important components of any small business. It’s where people can go to find your work, learn more about your business, and to contact you! Having a website makes you look more professional, and leads to more bookings – so what I’m saying is, if you haven’t made one yet, do it! You’ll have several website platforms to choose from, and it can be difficult to figure out which one is best for you. There’s no one size fits all answer, and the website builder you choose depends on your priorities. So in this guide, I’m going to break down things to consider when choosing a website platform, and compare Showit vs Squarespace vs WordPress/Elementor.
Showit vs Squarespace vs WordPress
You might be thinking, what about Pixieset? What about Wix?
Here’s my honest answer: WordPress, Squarespace, and Showit are the only platforms worth considering. Now that’s just my opinion, but I think Pixieset and Wix can be really tempting for beginner photographers and business owners, because they’re inexpensive and easy to use. A lot of photographers like Pixieset because it can host your website and your client galleries together. But, Pixieset and Wix are very limiting when it comes to design, and when it comes to SEO.
As a website designer, good design is important to me! And as a former photographer and current person who works on the Internet, SEO is also really important to me, and it’s actually how I got most of my inquiries as an elopement photographer. And you just can’t get the same look with Pixieset or Wix, or the same SEO results as you can with the bigger names – WordPress, Squarespace, and Showit.
Easy to Use: Showit vs Squarespace vs WordPress
There’s a learning curve with any new platform, but some have a steeper curve than others. Here are the website platforms ranked by how easy they are to use.
Squarespace definitely comes in at number one when it comes to how easy it is to use. Its drag and drop interface makes designing easy, and they have a really helpful support team that’s available 24/7 to answer questions. There’s also a 2 week free trial, which is great if you aren’t sure yet! Click here to try out Squarespace.
After Squarespace, Showit is next when it comes to how easy it is to build a website on their platform. Showit is a drag and drop builder as well, but it’s a little more complex than Squarespace, and it takes a little bit of exploring to learn how everything works. The hardest part is that Showit connects to WordPress for blogging – more on that later, but this was the hardest thing to figure out when I was learning how to use Showit.
One important note about WordPress is that there are a million different ways to use it – WordPress is a host, and you can get different website builders and themes that all work completely differently. I use Elementor Pro – a website builder designed to work with WordPress, so throughout this guide when I talk about WordPress, I’m talking about the WordPress + Elementor combination.
That being said, WordPress is definitely the most difficult website building platform to figure out. I consider myself pretty tech savy, but when I switched my website over from Squarespace to WordPress, I was lost… so lost. First, WordPress needs a host to work. I use Cloudways (you can get $15 off here!), which is pretty well regarded when it comes to site speeds. Bluehost is a popular, more affordable host, and I think it’s an all right place to start, but be aware that you’ll probably have issues with site speed eventually. The setup process is a bit confusing, and after you’ve made your account building your website can take a lot of patience. Elementor is a drag and drop builder, and the basics of how it works are pretty easy to grasp, but it takes some practice to figure everything out.
Design Capability: Showit vs Squarespace vs WordPress
One of the biggest factors, for more people, when it comes to choosing a website platform is how your website will look, and how customizable everything will be.
Showit and WordPress actually have pretty much the same design capability, I would say. But, I rate Showit at #1 because it’s a lot easier to use. While the same designs can be made in both Showit and WordPress (Elementor), Showit’s drag and drop platform makes it easier to do whatever it is you want, design wise!
You can also customize the desktop and mobile versions independently. Most people these days are browsing the Internet on their phones, so how your website looks on mobile is super important.
There’s very little that you can’t do with WordPress – it’s super versatile, and has the option of using plugins. Plugins are an added software component that adds a feature to WordPress, so even when things that aren’t natively possible in WordPress or Elementor, there’s usually a plugin for that!
Elementor also allows you to have complete control over how the mobile version of your website looks.
While I like Squarespace for how easy it is to use for pretty much everyone, that’s really the only thing I like about it. In just about every other category, in the WordPress vs Squarespace vs Showit fight, Squarespace comes in last.
Squarespace websites are difficult to personalize. For example, it won’t let you overlap two objects on your website, like text over an image. There are workarounds, but they require CSS coding, so it isn’t ideal for the average user.
Squarespace does not have the option to customize the mobile appearance – the mobile version automatically inherits the design from desktop, which isn’t always what you want. Again, you do have more control if you add some CSS code, but it’s still limiting, and if you aren’t working with a website designer, can be hard to do yourself.
Seo: Showit vs Squarespace vs WordPress
Search engine optimization – it’s what makes your website show up on Google, and it’s my personal favorite marketing tactic. This doesn’t mean that you will definitely rank well if you use one platform over the other, or that you can’t rank well using one of them – some platforms just make it easier than others!
Hands down, WordPress is the best of the best when it comes to SEO. Because WordPress has the option to add plugins, and has so much more back end control than Showit and Squarespace, you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to optimizing your site, making SEO easier. WordPress also tends to be better for site speed – which is a big factor in search engine performance.
Showit works with WordPress when it comes to blogging – so the great thing is that a lot of those same plugins can be used here too! Showit’s native platform is good when it comes to SEO, but doesn’t have the same backend control as WordPress does. But, your blog posts will be done in WordPress, so you’ll get the WordPress benefits without having to use the more difficult platform.
Squarespace isn’t bad for SEO by any means – but it’s not quite as good as the other two. It does have a lot of options for backend control, but not nearly as much as WordPress.
Site Speed: Showit vs Squarespace vs WordPress
Site speed is important for a few reasons. People have really short attention spans, so if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you’re likely losing a lot of potential clients. Site speed is also a large factor in SEO performance. Google favors sites that provide a good user experience, and site speed is part of that.
How fast your website loads will depend on a lot of factors. I’d actually say that Showit and WordPress are just about tied for this one, but because WordPress offers more backend control, you have more control over your site speed as well. Your host will affect site speed a lot, so do your research before choosing one! Elementor can get bulky, which slows down your site. However, it’s totally possible to optimize your WordPress site by reducing your image sizes, and WordPress plugins make this easy. Cloudways is definitely the best host – I used to use Bluehost, but my site was much too slow to handle the traffic I was getting. If you’re on a tight budget, Bluehost can be a good place to start, but you will likely need to switch as your business grows. Luckily, Cloudways makes the switch easy with a plugin – and you can get $15 off!
Showit offers hosting in their plans, so you don’t have as much control over the backend of your site. However, their hosting does a good job of ensuring good site speeds, so as long as you optimize your photos before uploading them, you should be good!
Squarespace websites often have problems with loading speeds. So many customizations require CSS coding, but on the flip side, having a lot of code slows down the site. You’ll need to be extra careful to optimize your photos on a Squarespace site.
Pricing: Showit vs Squarespace vs WordPress
I have accounts on all three of these platforms (for custom client work and to host my templates), so I’m very familiar with how a website building platform can burn holes in your wallet :).
The cost of a WordPress website varies, depending on what host you use. I use Cloudways, and pay about $20 per month – but how much you pay depends on your usage! However, you might also have to pay for a website builder. Elementor does have a free option, but you get more design flexibility with Pro – which costs $50 per year.
Squarespace has several options for plans. The cheapest is $12 per month (if paid annually), and the most expensive is $40. Each plan offers something different, but most people would be okay with the $18/month business plan. You can check out pricing here! Squarespace is nice because unlike WordPress, it is an all in one platform, so you don’t need to pay separately to host your site.
Showit has a few options for plans as well, and it’s an all in one platform, so you won’t need hosting. You can see the different options here – I recommend either the basic blog or advanced blog option, so that you’re able to use the WordPress blogging feature.
Templates: Showit vs Squarespace vs WordPress
If you aren’t ready to invest in a custom design, a template is the next best thing! Templates are the easiest way to set up your website, as most are easy to install and include tutorials for those who aren’t too used to the website platform they’re using. I really recommend getting a template – website design is hard work, and if you’re a photographer, it’s probably not what you want to spend time doing! Templates are easy to customize and much faster than starting from scratch.
Templates are out there for all three platforms (I have some for WordPress, Squarespace, and Showit, hint hint), but there are some differences in how you use them.
Because Showit is the best when it comes to customization, I personally prefer these templates. They’re super easy to install – all you need to do is copy + paste a share key, and your template is installed. All you have to do is customize, and add your own photos and copy. Adjustments to the layout are easier to make, since Showit is a drag and drop builder.
Templates made for WordPress/Elementor are my second favorite – to make and to use. They’re pretty easy to install, but require a few more steps than Showit does. I include tutorials with all of my templates to make this easier, and it’s a good way to get to know the platform if you aren’t familiar.
Squarespace templates are the most difficult to install – because Squarespace doesn’t offer any kind of import options, you need to basically build the template yourself. This is easy if you follow the tutorials (or have the designer set it up for you, which many of them offer), but a little more time consuming if you do it yourself.
The Winner - WordPress vs Squarespace vs Showit
There’s no “one size fits all” answer for which website platform you should use, as it all depends on your priorities and how comfortable you feel with using a new platform.
Overall, I recommend Showit! I think it’s the most versatile, and because of how easy it is to use and how much flexibility there is with designing, I think it’s perfect for nearly everybody. Whether you’re DIY-ing, getting a template, or working with a website designer, Showit will make keeping your site updated easy, and the WordPress blogging integration means you get the SEO benefits of WordPress, without the hard to use platform!
However, if you’re willing to learn how to use WordPress, I think using it will give you the most control over your site speed, SEO, and website performance, which is just as important than design. The easiest way to get started with WordPress is to make an account with Cloudways to host your site – you can even get $15 off, and if you’re already using a host, Cloudways makes switching easy with a plugin! After that, I recommend using Elementor to design the site if you aren’t planning to hire a website designer.